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Horner impressed with Ricciardo test
Ricciardo tested for Red Bull during the Young Driver Test at Silverstone last week, with Horner saying he was impressed with how he performed. While Red Bull has made it clear that Ricciardo and Raikkonen are the only two candidates to replace Mark Webber at the end of the year, Horner said there were a lot of areas in which Ricciardo is unproven but has so far shown himself capable of making the step up from Toro Rosso.
"Obviously the test last week was difficult circumstances because fundamentally they weren't allowed to change anything after the test driver had stepped out of the car and Daniel acquitted himself very well," Horner said. "We had the ability to compare him against Sebastian who drove the car the following day and he acquitted himself well.
"I think on pace Daniel is certainly a very quick race driver. I think part of the challenge of being a driver at Red Bull is not just about being quick it's about having the ability feedback-wise to converse fully with the engineers - especially as we enter a new era of regulations where development is going to be crucial - and I also think that any driver to go up against Sebastian; there's a pressure that inevitably will come from that of being measured against Sebastian Vettel.
"Obviously you've got to be fairly broad-shouldered to be able to deal with that. And there's expectation that there perhaps isn't in Daniel's current team - the scrutiny from [the media] isn't there - so the pressure on any driver in a front-running team is always that bit greater, but I think what Daniel has demonstrated so far has been very positive."
Explaining why Jean-Eric Vergne was being overlooked for the seat, Horner said he was further behind Ricciardo in his development.
"I think Jean-Eric is again demonstrating strong development and potential. I think at this stage it's probably too early for him, which is why we chose to look at Daniel in the test at Silverstone last week … He's six months behind Daniel in terms of Formula One experience so he's still learning and still developing."
With Raikkonen the more expensive choice initially, Horner said cost would not be a factor in Red Bull's final decision.
"Of course finance is always a factor, but you can also contrast that with saying the difference between first and second or second and third or third and fourth is a significant amount in the constructors' world championship. So the financial element of it if you don't make the right decision is going to impact you anyway if you're not scoring constructors' points, so that isn't really an element in our decision making."